Double Whammy Against the Trans Agenda

The transgender movement received an unexpected setback from two very different authorities on Monday. Pope Francis, who has been applauded by liberals in many other contexts, declared that efforts to change a person’s biological sex are unacceptable as an affront to human dignity, while the leading association governing sports at 250 small colleges rejected allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports.

This double whammy came as the transgender movement had been riding high. The media had promoted a statement by Dawn Staley, the women’s basketball coach who led her South Carolina Gamecocks to an undefeated 38-0 championship season, that so-called transgender women (a.k.a men) should be allowed to compete in women’s basketball.

The sport of basketball is a good illustration of how wrong it would be to allow men to invade women’s sports. The best-ever college women’s basketball player, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, is “only” 6 feet tall, but the average men’s basketball player is at least 6-6 and some are over 7 feet tall.

Iowa Hawkeye’s Caitlin Clark. // Photo by John Mac. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Would that six-inch-plus difference in average height be a fair match-up? Of course not, and no amount of testosterone reduction or other gender changing procedures can offset such an innate disparity between men and women athletes.

The 20-0 vote by the governing body of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to prohibit biological males from competing in women’s sports is eminently reasonable. The NCAA should soon follow its lead and stop the insanity of allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2019 that 1.8% of high school students, or roughly 275,000, disagree with their own biological sex. Thousands of them compete as athletes.

Today a desire for accolades, scholarships, publicity, and lucrative compensation for NIL (name, image, and likeness) motivate millions of athletes. Some would do anything to win, including changing their gender.

The clarity of this new ban on unfair participation by biological men in women’s sports by the NAIA was met with disdain by the liberal media, who have outsized influence over the NCAA and pro sports due to lucrative television contracts. Most NAIA members are Christian colleges, while some are public institutions.

The Pope did not refer specifically to sports, but spoke broadly in general terms to prohibit all transgender interventions: “Desiring a personal self-determination, as gender theory prescribes, apart from this fundamental truth that human life is a gift, amounts to a concession to the age-old temptation to make oneself God.”

Officially entitled “Dignitas Infinita,” which is Latin for “Infinite Dignity,” the Vatican announcement was developed over a period of more than five years and reflects many prior papal statements affirming the reality that we are all created male and female. It condemns transgender operations and treatments, as part of its rejection of all modern degradations of human dignity including abortion.

The Pope’s message decries how “in recent decades, attempts have been made to introduce new rights that are neither fully consistent with those originally defined nor always acceptable. They have led to instances of ideological colonization, in which gender theory plays a central role; the latter is extremely dangerous since it cancels differences in its claim to make everyone equal.”

The reference to gender theory as ideological colonization is a tip of the hat to the booming African churches, which strongly resist efforts today by liberal Europeans and Americans to “colonize” them with leftwing propaganda. African Christians have overwhelmingly rejected social agendas promoted by liberal elites from the U.S. and Europe.

“The greatest possible difference that exists between living beings” is the “sexual difference” between male and female, this papal document confirms. “This foundational difference is not only the greatest imaginable difference but is also the most beautiful and most powerful of them. In the male-female couple, this difference achieves the most marvelous of reciprocities.”

“It thus becomes the source of that miracle that never ceases to surprise us: the arrival of new human beings in the world,” this Catholic document continues. “All attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected.”

“It follows that any sex-change intervention, as a rule, risks threatening the unique dignity the person has received from the moment of conception.” This is a full stop for Leftists, medical universities, and law schools that are pushing hard for transgender operations and treatments, often at taxpayer expense.

In response, Biden’s press secretary reiterated his full support of the transgender agenda. But Biden is on the wrong side of 62 million American Catholics, many Christian colleges, nearly all African churches, and female student-athletes everywhere, and this issue may be one reason why polls show young supporters of Biden fleeing to the Republican side.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles Organizations with writing and policy work.

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